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What Does Dynamic Disability Mean to Me?

We’ve all heard of the word disability, but what is a dynamic disability? A dynamic disability is a disability that fluctuates in severity from one moment to the next.

Ever since I got worse with my fatigue and pain, I’ve identified as disabled, but it never truly felt like what I was experiencing. When I came across the term “dynamic disability”, I felt heard.

My experience with dynamic disability

I’ve had ankylosing spondylitis since February of 2017. Ever since then, I feel that I’ve experienced dynamic disability, even if I didn’t know the term yet.

I was able to go out to the mall, or to dinner with a friend, but I would be in bed for a day or 2 afterward. I knew something was up with my body, but I never considered myself to be disabled.

Fast forward to November of 2020. My chronic fatigue went from moderate to severe, and my pain got worse, too. That’s when I really felt like I became disabled. I needed more help doing my daily tasks like showering, cooking, cleaning, etc.

I started realizing that I was having a hard time even with my “simple” daily tasks. I was showering less and less. Something that people don’t understand is that a shower can take all of your energy, and some days feels impossible.

If I showered one day, I wouldn’t be able to do anything the next day. I felt exhausted and like I was hit by a bus.

I got a walker

In February of 2021, I decided to get a rollator walker. It was a hard decision as a 25-year-old woman, but it was one that I needed to make. It changed my daily life a great amount.

Of course, if you know me, you know I love everything pink and customized. I ordered a walker off of Amazon and decided to customize it pink. I spray-painted it and made it my own!

Now let me tell you, this walker has changed my life. It mostly helps with my fatigue, but it’s good on my high pain days as well.

When it feels like my body is concrete, and I need help getting to the bathroom and back, my walker is my savior. It’s helped give me more of a sense of independence, too.

Some days I need the walker to go to the store, some days I don’t. It’s nice to know it’s always there for me, though.

My disability changes from hour to hour

As I’ve mentioned earlier, a dynamic disability can change from moment to moment. For example, the other day I went to the mall. I took my walker and I was in and out of the mall in just over an hour.

I was totally fine while in the mall, a little tired but that’s normal for me. When I got home is when the dynamic disability kicked in. I was exhausted, I completely crashed, and I could barely walk. I needed my boyfriend’s help to get up the stairs and into bed, where I felt like I had turned into a different human.

One hour I was fine, walking around and talking, the next hour, I had crashed in bed and could barely move.

This is what I mean when I say a dynamic disability can change from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute.

Do you consider yourself to have a dynamic disability? What does that term mean to you?

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